Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Office statement on human rights abuses in eSwatini

20/09/2018

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Office is concerned about the police brutality in response to the striking workers in eSwatini demanding higher wages and reforms to the way the state pension fund was managed.

Media reports indicate that several workers were wounded in the clashes on Tuesday, as police used batons, stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

We condemn this barbaric behaviour and we call upon the authorities in eSwatini to uphold the rule of law, respect human rights and allow workers to freely express their grievances. It is worrying that in this day Africa is still battling with an archaic monarchical system which has no place in modern day society.

The unfortunate events in eSwatini are happening when the country is geared for its parliamentary ‘elections’ to be held on Friday the 21st of September. It is worrying that the elections in this country are nothing but a mockery to the dictates of democracy. It is an election were opposition political parties are not allowed to participate, campaign rallies are banned and the king wields absolute power, choosing the prime minister and cabinet.

The Coalition urges the workers, and the people of eSwatini to continue with the struggle and not to watch in idle while the King and his government tramples upon the rights of workers and ordinary citizens. The citizens of eSwatini have, for a long time now, tolerated the depressing conditions resulting from the violation of their rights by the monarch.

We urge the citizens of eSwatini to continue peaceful protests and force the government to account for the brutality and demand an end to misrule under Mswati’s monarch.

We therefore call upon the regional body, SADC to urgently act to address the escalating unrest in eSwatini and its potential negative implications for regional peace and stability.

We also urge regional trade union bodies and social movements to take an active interest and build more solidarity actions on the situation in eSwatini.

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